On March 25, Rollins Improv Players (RIP) premiered their latest show, RIPtide, sponsored by Promoting Action and Change Today (PACT).
Players had previously showed a soft preview of the show a few weeks ago, but on Friday night it was clear that they were more confident in what they were doing.
Nick Zazulia ’11 played the protagonist for the evening. He remained on stage for the hour long production, while the other players rotated around him, presenting different storylines for him to follow. Zazulia did well in maintaining his role and responding to the dizzying number of people surrounding him.
He would be lying if he tried to say that it was easy to play the protagonist. “It’s very difficult; there is not a great answer and that’s one of the things we’ve struggled most within development.”
In regard to keeping up with the other people, he said, “The short answer is as supporting ensemble members, we try to make something distinct to help the protagonist out and if it seems at the start of a scene that the protagonist doesn’t make the connection, we make some good faith offers to point them in the right direction.”
This time, Zazulia played a librarian in an elementary school. Like everyone else in the real world, he had to cope with various troubles, such as a rocky relationship with his significant other, the pressures of working with young children and dealing with greedy mechanics. That is the biggest difference between RIPtide and the other forms the players do.
Not necessarily as humorous as Rip-Tag or as broad focused as Cut-To, RIPtide is meant to focus on one person and his or her struggles.
This type of form puts more pressure on the protagonist, as it is his or her job to bring the character to life and to ensure that the other characters fit in realistically. “Careful listening and tracking is a difficult but vital skill in improv and this form really brings that to the forefront,” explained Zazulia.
Of course, there is always room for improvement, particularly in improv situations, so while this show was more organized than the preview, the players still have some work to do if they are going to make this form as popular as their others.
However, avid RIP show attendees have faith in the RIP team.